During a press conference on Thursday, September 5, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced a state of emergency (SOE) in St. Catherine and Clarendon parishes due to rising crime rates. The SOE will initially remain in effected until Thursday, September 19, but can be extended by Parliament. According to police officials, since the start of 2019, Clarendon has recorded 100 murders, while 91 have been reported in St. Catherine North and 66 in St. Catherine South. Much of the violence has been attributed to conflict between gangs. Heightened security measures and an increase in police operations are to be expected in the parishes until the SOEs expire.
States of Public Emergency have been implemented intermittently across multiple parishes, including St. James, since January 2018 due to rising crime rates. During "states of emergency," police and military personnel are given the authority to search people and buildings, curtail business hours, and detain individuals without a warrant.
Individuals present in the aforementioned areas, and across greater Jamaica, are advised to remain vigilant, follow all instructions issued by local authorities, and exercise basic security precautions (e.g. keep signs of wealth concealed, drive with doors locked and windows rolled up, etc.).
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